Tuesday, December 31, 2013

To Our Friends at Christmas

Dear Friends, Family, Guests,

I would have hated to get a Christmas blog up on time, lest you begin to think that I'm on it.

A Christmas letter is such a satisfying thing to write, but regular ol' family life has really kept me running all December long.  Let's see... There were two different incidents of stomach flu early in the month, then my parents came to town in time for Ray and I to get it.  We were practically in a coma for a whole day, I think, which may have had to do with the fact that we couldn't stomach coffee at the time.  Um.  So...

A Snowman!
Then Charlie came down with my least favorite childhood illness.  Oh, how I  abhor HSV-1.  HSV-1, oral herpes, is the virus that folks get that eventually causes cold sores.  Google assures me that 90% of the population carries the virus, while only 60% who get it actually go through the initial illness that involves high fever for a few days, then blisters appear.  And not just a cold sore here or there, but blisters on the tongue, the gums, the throat, the face.  It is terrible.  You may remember Calvin came down with this the week Miles was born.  (Shudder)

He fell asleep just like this, while playing with his animal friends.

Well, Charlie weathered it very well.  A high pain tolerance is a feature common in folks who have Down syndrome, and I'll tell you what, for better or worse it really works for him sometimes.  He had one really painful day, and after that was only expressing pain when he needed to eat.  Still, he found things that worked okay, and marched on.  He felt pretty lousy the whole time, though, pain or not.

Indiscriminate cartoon watching ensued.
Then Miles came down with it.  You guys, he did not take it so well.  It it going rough.  First, there were the fevers.  HSV-1 can cause high fevers.  Combine that with the fact that Miles little body has a history of letting fevers go very high meant that we made a few trips to the bathtub in the last weeks.  The highest we saw was 105.5 F, which was alarming and not all in the same breath.  This kid really knows how to party.  Then the blisters came, and he couldn't eat. Thank goodness for gatorade, his constant companion.  Now the blisters are healing, but his gums and lips keep swelling up and bleeding.  This poor guy cannot catch a break.

Calvin is one healthy boy. Here he is, beaming with pride at his Christmas school performance.
I appreciate his patience and concern for his brothers these last couple weeks.

You know, Christmas is a rough time for difficult things to happen, but I'll tell you what, of all the hard things people experience at Christmas time, I'll take normal childhood illness any time.  It's been a strenuous few weeks, and Christmas packages and letters did not get out on time, but we're okay.  We were still together as a family.  My parents came to visit, and willingly helped with household duties.  We had a wonderful time with our family that dropped in on Christmas.  Charlie, thankfully, had a pretty light case and is doing fabulous now.  And Miles, well, he is still in it, but I have had the privilege of cuddling that sweetie to sleep every night--all night long--which is totally exhausting, but very special for a mama to do.  We'll count our blessings.

I'm thinking, next Christmas, Miles will not fit so perfectly under the mantle.
I hope your Christmas was wonderful.  Miles and I have had a lot of chats about Jesus this winter break.  He is trying to wrap his mind around all of it, and mostly coming up blank.  He is very deeply mystified, but he understands Jesus' actions and purpose:  Love and redemption.  Indiscriminate love that would hold you through the night while you cried, even if he was tired, even if your breath stunk like oral herpes, if you were good or bad, easy or difficult, he loves unendingly.  He will love you right into his arms.  He loves you until you are well.  He walks with you your whole life long.  He's gotcha.  Our boys know that we celebrate the initiation of this love and redemtion on earth at Christmas time.  We celebrate that He came.

So, "Very Christmas" Friends!  (As Charlie has been saying.)  I hope, in whatever you've been up to these couple weeks, you have had a chance to experience Jesus love for you, just as you are, in whatever state you are in.


And Happy New Year!  May it be our best yet.

Love,

Kim, Ray, Charlie, Calvin, and Miles

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